TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Journal News on Dec 31, 2018

Thank You for Writing about Lutie Lytle

This letter was written to our columnist, Russell Fowler, about his article, “Tennessee’s Lutie Lytle: A Woman of Many Firsts,” which was published in the October 2018 Tennessee Bar Journal.
Thank you in general for your many contributions to the Tennessee Bar Journal. I always enjoy reading your articles, and  I especially enjoyed reading the October 2018 article on the trailblazing attorney Lutie Lytle.  I learned of her long ago (just how I don’t recall) and had intended to conduct some research on her. You can imagine my pleasant surprise to read that she was the subject of one of your articles.

As the current president of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee, I also want to thank you for your work on behalf of Legal Aid.
— Charles K. Grant, Nashville

The Robing of Judges

The article about Justice Sanford in the December issue (“Edward Terry Sanford: The Man Behind the Robe,” by Stephanie L. Slater) noted that the Knoxville Bar Association and Sanford convinced Knoxville judges to wear robes in the 1930s.

In researching my history of the Memphis and Shelby County bar, I learned from elderly lawyers that Memphis judges didn’t wear robes until prompted to do so by the local bar in 1939. I read of at least one judge before that who presided in his shirtsleeves.

My suggestion to the bar association in the 1990s to go a step further by requiring courtroom lawyers to wear a short gown, similar to that of students at Sewanee, was met with ridicule and the suggestion that I would be wanting wigs next. That attitude has not prevented some of our judges from wearing robes in colors ranging from burgundy to robin’s egg blue to rainbow hues. We are probably the only nation in the Western world where lawyers do not wear some sort of robe in court.
— Hon. Robert A. Lanier, Memphis

Editor’s note: We would like to see some of these colorful robes! If you have been in court with a brightly clad judge (or if you are one), write to us and send a picture.